Rabbits were raised for over a thousand years in Mexico without becoming domesticated. A new study finds that their solitary lifestyle and greater species diversity made domestication unlikely.
Researchers have found that when fruit bats forage in the city (Tel Aviv), they are much more exploratory and enjoy the diversity of urban life, visiting a variety of fruit trees every night and tasting as wide a variety of foods as possible. In contrast, rural bats living in Beit Guvrin focus on only one or two fruit trees every night.
Every year, thousands of dogs end up in a shelter in the Netherlands. Experts expect an increase in this number in the upcoming period, when people go back to the office after working from home during the corona crisis. Despite the good care of staff and volunteers, the shelter can be a turbulent experience for dogs. Researchers at Utrecht University investigated if dogs can adapt to their new environment based on their nocturnal activity.
Australian reptiles face serious conservation threats from illegal poaching fueled by international demand and the exotic pet trade.
Whether birds can taste sweet was previously unclear. An international team of researchers has now shown that songbirds, a group containing over 4,000 species, can sense sweetness regardless of their primary diets. The study highlights a specific event in the songbird ancestors that allowed their umami (savoury) taste receptor to recognise sugar. This ability has been conserved in the songbird lineage, influencing the diet of nearly half of all birds living today.
You know your dog gets your gist when you point and say "go find the ball" and he scampers right to it. This knack for understanding human gestures may seem unremarkable, but it's a complex cognitive ability that is rare in the animal kingdom. Duke University-led research comparing dog puppies to human-reared wolf pups offers some clues to how dogs' unusual people-reading skills came to be.
Dogs infected with echinococcosis play a major role in spreading tapeworms across human populations around the world. Now, researchers have developed a "smart collar" which gradually delivers a steady dose of a deworming drug to dogs. The collar successfully reduces the animals' risk of echinococcosis, the team reports in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.
Some exceptionally gifted people have marked human history and culture. Leonardo, Mozart, and Einstein are some famous examples of this phenomenon. Is talent in a given field a uniquely human phenomenon? We do not know whether gifted bees or elephants exist, just to name a few species, but now there is evidence that talent in a specific field exists, in at least one non-human species: the dog.
Veterinarians at the University of California, Davis, have found that a cat's DNA alters how it responds to a life-saving medication used to treat hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or HCM, a heart disease that affects 1 in 7 cats.
Researchers based in Munich and Tuebingen have developed an open-source camera system that images natural habitats as they appear to rodents.